Being welcomed and given opportunities to speak, write for some of Pittsburgh’s most important publications and consult and coach several local businesses has been a gratifying and invaluable opportunity for me to learn how the town works and has succeeded so well. Being invited to join the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and most recently being accepted into Leadership Pittsburgh’s class of 2011 are profound honors.
I want to thank all the business leaders who have encouraged me to make a positive impact on the region by helping Western PA businesses grow as I did in Ohio. Furthermore, I want to accelerate my assimilation into the Pittsburgh community and apply my business growth skill set to other organizations where I can help. Pittsburgh is clearly a community of dedicated, progressive professionals working together to create regional success. I want to quickly understand the deep roots and collaborative nature of my new home to help small businesses and other organizations uncover your Best and Highest Use®.
Looking back, it’s been a great privilege to help you grow by over $400 million and I look forward to continuing to do so. Being recognized as an asset to Northeast Ohio’s economy was a great honor and I hope that you will reach out to me whenever you and your business needs my specialty of empowering optimism and helping you and your business discover and leverage your Best and Highest Use®.
My role as a catalyst for many NEO business owners to develop the courage and conviction to invest in themselves has been my life’s work. I have profoundly enjoyed helping stalwart business leaders see past their limitations and grasp and commit to opportunities to take their businesses to the next level. While there are many organizations and associations I have helped lead, my biggest contribution has been working directly with the business owner to accomplish their ends, rather than by joining organizations to create the means for economic development. By taking this contrarian approach and investing hundreds of pro bono hours annually, I was able to have a direct effect on many small businesses that I could not have had by working “within the system.” As the number of business owners I helped grew, my work was recognized by all of Cleveland’s mainstream business media and organizations that focus on small business.
My biggest challenge was continually finding the strength and conviction to help these businesses take responsibility for their own success despite extreme economic pressure to do the opposite. While thousands of businesses went bankrupt, I fought with and for scores of firms that survived and are contributing taxes, employment and hope to a region reeling from economic decline.
If I have one parting wish for Northeast Ohio, it would be that it rejects its reliance on traditional practices, leaders and ideas for solving the insidious challenges it faces and engages new methods, voices and solutions quickly.
I’d like to point you to a piece I’ve just written titled, “Entrepreneurs and Defining Points: Have You Had Your Popeye Moment?” At some point in everyone’s life – you reach a defining moment. Take, for instance, the examples below:
“In the fifth game of the 1986 World Series, Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner flubs the game’s final grounder, igniting a Mets comeback that not only wins the game but ultimately the Series. From that moment on, Buckner is forever branded as the goat of the game.
In the epic play Les Miserables, the hero Jean Valjean, confesses to his pursuer, Inspector Javert, and then saves his foe’s life. This selfless gesture of grace lifts Valjean up from his life’s fate but drives his captor to question his very purpose and ultimately to suicide.”
Have you reached your defining moment? That moment in time when you’re summoning up the strength to overcome what seems like insurmountable odds? Much like Popeye proclaiming, “That’s all I can takes, because I can’t takes no more!” Have YOU cracked open YOUR can of spinach?
*NOTE: This article is originally published at American Express OPEN Forum*